Health care entrepreneurs would be wise to consider the advice of my creative writing professor in college:
“Build a narrative,” he was fond of saying. “Show, don’t tell.”
What he meant by this, of course, was that in order to make a memorable connection with an audience, it’s important to communicate beyond simply stating facts. Be human. Construe value and purpose. Use imagination. Appeal to emotion.
In short, be a storyteller.
I was reminded of this old professor when I read a recent post by entrepreneurial advisor Martin Zwilling, a blogger and contributor at Forbes.com. In a post titled “Entrepreneurs Who Master Storytelling Win More,” Zwilling discusses the power stories have in effectively communicating one’s value proposition to customers.
If you own a physical therapy practice or run an independent medical/dental practice, take heed – this is sage advice that applies to you, too. As a health care entrepreneur, one of your challenges is to effectively communicate with a variety of audiences such as clients, potential clients, referral sources, partners, and even your own team. You can most effectively (and memorably) construe who you are, what you do, and how you’re different from the others by appealing to values and emotion – by simply being relatable.
“Most people care the most about the things that touch, move, and inspire them,” Zwilling wrote. “They make decisions based on emotion, and then look for the facts that support these decisions. Thus, it behooves every entrepreneur to learn how to craft stories from their personal experience, and the world at large, that make an emotional connection, as well as tie in the facts.”
Use stories to paint a picture of your practice – who you are, what you do, where your values lie, and why your work is meaningful. Use stories, such as the drive of a patient or client, to demonstrate success and inspire others to consider following a similar path. And use stories to engage and interact with your audience, whether it be face to face or via a blog or social media site.
And most importantly, be yourself.
“The most effective story material comes from firsthand experience, infused with your personal feelings and emotions,” Zwilling wrote. “If you are telling a story you don’t believe in, your audience will sense it instantly. The good news is that they will pick up just as quick on your genuine enthusiasm and conviction.”
Here at Vantage Clinical Solutions, our marketing team encourages our clients to develop stories that best demonstrate their brands and their value propositions. Then we explore the various avenues that exist – blogs, email newsletters, direct mail pieces, media campaigns, etc. – for effectively sharing these narratives with receptive audiences.
Storytelling can be intuitive to some, but for most it takes some practice. This rings especially true when it comes to effectively tying narratives in with your brand or a particular campaign message. It’s a delicate balance, one our marketing team here at Vantage can certainly help you achieve. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll show you how effective a good story can be.